Most adoptions nowadays are open, meaning that the birth parents and adoptive parents have shared identifying information and, most likely, have some sort of relationship. The level of relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents varies greatly and there aren’t any rules. Some families choose to exchange letters once and year, some visit several times a month. One adoptive mom just shared her experience in The New York Times about having her daughter’s birth parents, in the midst of homelessness, move in.
My first reaction was “Whoa, this lady has really poor boundaries.” But then I completely understood.
In the past, I would have been so judgmental, but since becoming a foster parent I don’t know what the boundaries are. I’ve done a lot for the parents of my foster kids over the years. Everything from babysitting for a month to bringing a mom clean underwear in jail. I was trained in foster parent class to be a long-lasting community support person to help families heal and move toward reunification as quickly as possible (see the Annie E. Casey Family to Family Model). Yet, where do you draw the line? When does helping become enabling? How can a foster or adoptive parent be objective in determining what is a true need, and what is a self-imposed cycle that’s unhealthy to engage in?